Top Myths About Leaving Your Dog in a Car on a Hot Day

Jul 13, 2018 | Preventive Care

Does your dog get excited to hop in the car with you and go for a ride? Does he love sticking his head out of the window of your moving car to feel the breeze on his face? Do you enjoy the companionship your dog gives you in the car? If you answered yes to these questions, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Leaving your dog in a hot car, even for a few minutes, is dangerous.

When you bring your dog with you in the car, it’s absolutely critical that you never leave your dog in the car alone. Even a few minutes alone in a car on a hot day can cause serious health problems for a dog. In the worst-case scenario, a dog can suffer irreversible injuries, a seizure, a stroke, or possibly death.

Common myths about leaving a dog in a car on a hot day:

The car won’t get too hot if I leave the windows open.
This is a MYTH. First, open car windows are dangerous because your dog may be able to squeeze through the window. Second, an open window is like an invitation for a person to stick their hand in your car to pet your dog – and it’s impossible to know how your dog will react to a stranger. Third, open car windows on a hot day do very little to cool the interior of a car. After a few minutes, the temperature inside of a car on a hot day rises quickly and relentlessly – even when car windows are cracked or fully open.

It’s cool outside today. My dog will be comfortable in the car.
This is a MYTH. The weather outside might seem pleasant to a human. However, on a day when the temperature is only 68 degrees with a steady breeze, the temperature inside a car can rise to an unbearable temperature for a dog. Within minutes of leaving a dog inside a closed car, the interior of the car can heat to 100 degrees or more. This leaves your dog trapped in a very dangerous situation.

I left a bowl of water for my dog inside the car. The dog will drink the water and be fine.
This is a MYTH. While it’s essential that a dog has access to fresh water at all times on a hot day, leaving a bowl of water inside of a hot car is not a solution. A bowl of water can easily be tipped over by a distressed dog. Also, water can only do so much to cool a dog in a car with interior temperatures over 100 degrees. A bowl of water cannot prevent your dog from quickly overheating and suffering from heat stroke.

My dog seems very happy to be left in my car when I run errands.
This is a MYTH. While your dog might be happy to be out of the house and with you in the car, no dog enjoys the suffering associated with overheating. In fact, leaving a dog in a hot car is so dangerous that bystanders may call the police or attempt to rescue the dog from the car by breaking your car window or opening the car door to let the dog out.

Call If You Have Questions
If you absolutely must bring your dog in the car with you, make sure to stay with the dog at all times. If you have any questions or concerns about bringing your dog in a car, please call us or talk with us at your next appointment. Just like you, we want what is best for your dog and for your dog to live a long and healthy life.